Where to start? I teach Taoism in so many ways. Taoism is an interesting system. To learn Taoism, what it entails and the truth Taoist Teachers impart to students varies for each person.
To Learn Taoism
Can literally be:
As simple as embracing a smile.
As difficult as mastering 60 years of intensive study.
Unlike any other system taught in human history: Taoism accepts no final definition other than the Tao. The Tao by definition is indefinable.
Being human, we do define it. Human nature seeks answers and embraces truth towards our place in a seemingly larger universe. We are colorful beings, and that means we live in the heart. The human heart leads this journey towards completeness, as each person uniquely finds meaning for their life.
As a Taoist teacher, I have a collection of methods that I find helps students quickly discover their truth. However, before jumping into new practices, first, let’s look at how people learn Taoism.
One reason for large differences in learning Taoism is due to the path taken. Everything a person does rolls into how you learn Taoism. Along life, each person makes choices on the skills they would wish to learn. Each skill we work towards opens up new insights and new wonders to explore. As a result, if a person accepts what they have already experienced in life, then it helps speed up the process of learning Taoism.
The other reason for seemingly a large difference in learning times is: for a Taoist time is immaterial. In our attitude, it doesn’t make a difference if we spend 5 seconds or 30 years to learn a single truth. What matters is embracing truth in our nature, in our own time.
Unlike other practices which teach in an ‘orderly’ manner, Taoism is probably the only major religion within which the order of learning the truth is immaterial. We learn it as we learn it, or often more aptly the case; we unlearn it as we slowly release into it. This is an important distinction since as a person releases into Taoist practice, the heart connects to their truth of being one with the larger universe.
Why limit how to discover the truth: when it is already present, wrapped around your very nature and is related to how you accept yourself?
Since everything we do in our life connects us to ‘truth’, it might appear that some people just discover Taoism in a single smile. That smile contains a person’s entire life. It simmers down to how we accept ourselves. Some seekers take a moment to accept themselves others spend a lifetime finding personal acceptance.
Various sects of Taoism will teach in proscribed (restricted and constrained) manners because for some it’s simpler to do so, not because it’s required to do so. Think about this for a moment: How can anyone expect that a proscribed (restricted and constrained) manner of learning could define the indefinable any faster than any other method? You can’t. Using a proscribed manner of learning creates structures that would limit our nature within, by defining ourselves to ‘definition’ or ‘form’. Some people require a structured form to let go later. So it’s as valid of a path to take as any other.
The whole point about practices and secret learning techniques is that they are tools used to create challenge and provide the opportunity to have some fun while we live. For a Taoist, it’s immaterial if we take an instant or explore an intricate system of practices to learn Taoism within.
The true secret trick is to enjoy life as we explore the nature of being ourselves.
The actual process to learn Taoism is to release into the “Tao”. To jump into the unknown is often the harder part of living a Taoist lifestyle. Few people jump straight into the unknown. The first logical place for many people is to sort through all the known aspects of their life. A person will polish how they see the truth by trying out the different practices. People think the first step of learning is to reconciling oneself. Usually, a person has first to reconcile all the external cultural teachings that they grew up around and then release what doesn’t work in their life. As a result, people go thru a phase of trying out all the culturally available options first usually before tackling themselves and releasing into the Tao.
Now when I talk about Taoism, don’t think in terms of religion or philosophy.
Think in terms of what it is that you desire to become in life. To learn Taoism is to learn about yourself.
Religion and philosophy are structures people place on teachings, to limit and control thought. Taoism doesn’t care about any socially defined boundaries. Instead, Taoist practice dives into issues of the heart and teaches it all equally.
I will use language from many religions and philosophies because being human; those are references we have in our life to use. As a Taoist Teacher, I never limit myself to only one set of writings or traditions. Instead, the practice is to show the potential of being human from everything humanity has created and if required continue the process of creation.
To learn Taoism is to explore your potential as a human being.